The City of Milwaukee is known for coming together to help those in their time of need. Right now, a fundraiser for a former firefighter is offering the opportunity to help a family in need after he devoted much to the community.
In February of 2016, Derek Geppert was 35-years-old and a firefighter with the Milwaukee Fire Department for over five years, until he had a stroke.
Around the same time his wife, Melissa (Missy) was diagnosed with cancer. The two worked together to support their their kids during this tough time. While Missy was battling cancer, Derek suffered an additional five large strokes in December of 2016, at which point the doctors stopped counting according to the family because they were happening so rapidly. Derek began going through a long list of therapies, ranging from speech therapy, to physical therapy.
According to the family, Derek continues to make progress, even acknowledged by doctors.
Missy tells TODAY's TMJ4, that their health insurance provider said Derek is not progressing fast enough for them to justify continuing coverage, and has informed the family they will no longer provide the family with therapy services.
The family began looking for other options for therapy where they learned about BRAIN Training, which has an office in Brookfield.
Derek was tested and was told he would be an excellent candidate for the therapy, and could continue to see progression, helping Derek live a more "normal for him" life, including being able to be able to drive.
The therapy is still not covered by insurance and will need to be paid 100 percent out-of-pocket. The family was able to negotiate a lower cost to help, however, still an unmanageable dollar amount for the family
Ignite the Spirit - Milwaukee has established a #GeppertStrong fundraiser to help this local hero in his time of need so that he could receive the necessary therapy. The fundraiser sells t-shirts for $20 and all proceeds go directly toward paying for this therapy. Dunn's Sporting Goods has agreed to partner with Ignite the Spirit - Milwaukee and take care of the sale of the shirts, and shipping as well.
If you would like to order a t-shirt, click here.
If you would like to make a donation to the family you can by putting #GeppertStrong in the notes section of your donation.
You can learn more about the therapy and other resources provided by clicking here.
The online store for t-shirts will be available until midnight on Feb. 3. There is no pick up option available.